The Courtauld

The Courtauld Institute of Art is a world-class centre of intellectual enquiry in the fields of the history of art and architecture, conservation and curatorship.  It fosters and advances the understanding, care and enjoyment of the visual arts through a distinctive combination of advanced research, specialist teaching, professional training, exceptional libraries and visual resources, outstanding galleries and a wide range of public programmes.


The Courtauld has the largest art history faculty in the country and achieved first place in the ‘power ranking’ in this sector (ie, number of quality ratings multiplied by number of full-time researchers entered) in the government’s 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.  In the overall quality of all UK universities and colleges The Courtauld came second nationally after the London Business School.

Alumni Impact

The Courtauld’s 6,000 alumni are located around the world and have a major impact as museum directors, curators, academics, conservators, critics, journalists, teachers and art dealers.  Notable museum and gallery directors include Neil MacGregor (British Museum), Nicholas Penny (The National Gallery), Sir Nicholas Serota (Tate), Sir Mark Jones (V&A), Christopher Brown (The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), John Leighton (National Galleries of Scotland), Simon Groom (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), Penelope Curtis (Tate Britain) and Christoph Grunenberg (Tate Liverpool).  Heritage Directors include Simon Thurley (English Heritage) and Sarah Staniforth (Historic Properties Director, National Trust). In the USA alumni include Thomas Campbell (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and William Griswold (Morgan Library & Museum, New York).  Distinguished alumni also include professors and senior academics at Oxford, Cambridge, London and universities throughout the world.  The impact of The Courtauld is far-reaching as its alumni are at the centre of international art scholarship and public education. 

Financial Background

The Courtauld is unusual amongst UK universities and colleges in its reliance on philanthropic gifts due to its size, number of students and its teaching provision.  Of its £11 million budget in 2010/11 32% is provided by HEFCE public grants for teaching, research and The Courtauld Gallery, 20% in tuition fees, 16% in commercial and other income (shop, gallery hire, tickets etc.) and a significant 32%  (10%  endowment and 22% from annual gifts) in philanthropic income.

The Courtauld is in the second phase of its Opening Minds to Art campaign, an urgent drive to raise £24 million in revenue, scholarships and endowment funds, and to build a ‘family’ of donors for the future.  It is hoped that the completion of this second phase will see The Courtauld meeting the HEFCE matched funding scheme at which stage it will have secured over £15 million of its £24 million goal.  The third phase of the campaign is due to be completed by July 2014 with a target of a further £8 million. 

With government support for the higher education sector under severe pressure, The Courtauld is committed long-term to encouraging the maximum number of donors giving generously to ensure that it can continue to offer its unique education and training programmes.

Our faculty and students

The Courtauld has a faculty of 25 art historians and six conservators and each year has over 400 students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.  The Courtauld is exceptional in covering the full chronological range of art history from antiquity to contemporary art, from a wide range of methodological approaches. 

The price of excellence

The Courtauld’s strength as a small, single-subject academic institution lies in its educational offer: small class sizes to encourage active participation and communication between the brightest students and leading academics, and a wealth of resources available for their use. Research-led small group teaching is an essential feature of The Courtauld’s tradition as well as the opportunity to see first-hand the works of art being studied.  This educational model is costly, but it is also the reason why The Courtauld is such a unique place to study, and why it consistently produces some of the most talented and recognised curators, administrators, writers and academics in the field.

In order to protect this educational ethos, The Courtauld made the decision to become a self-governing college in June 2002. By becoming independent, The Courtauld gained the freedom to develop the teaching of art history and conservation in a way that best benefited students and ensured academic progress. The decision also presented a financial challenge. To secure its long-term future as a centre of academic excellence, 34% of The Courtauld’s annual budget now comes from private sources.

Degree programmes:

The Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery has one of the most important collections in Britain, including world-famous Old Master, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, and an outstanding prints and drawings collection including works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Cézanne.  The collection includes around 530 paintings, 7,000 drawings and 18,000 prints as well as significant holdings of Medieval, Renaissance and modern sculpture, ceramics, metalwork and furniture.   The Courtauld Gallery mounts regular research-led exhibitions and the collections are available as a study resource for faculty and students as well as being open to the public.